Development of an Appropriate Domestic Wastewater Management System in Lao PDR
Background and objective
The socio-economic of Lao PDR has been rapidly grown since having become the member of ASEAN in 1997. However, it is facing various environmental challenges such as water pollution, improper solid waste management, and agricultural soil pollution. Lao enacted several laws and strengthened the national standards but the enforcement is not enough. The main sources of pollutants are untreated wastewater discharged from human activities, households, restaurant, small industrial sectors. Untreated gray water from domestic, commercial and public buildings is disposed to the nearby drainage system and surrounding environment. The limitation of the conventional septic tank to achieve new effluent standards is also pointed out. There are approximately 29 decentralized wastewater treatment systems facilities with the treatment capacity of 1-200 m3/day installed in 9 provinces, totaling the country’s treatment capacity is 743 m3/day. However, little information on operation performance and water quality of the effluents of decentralized wastewater treatment systems in the country is available, which makes difficult to set policies and guidelines for implementation. In addition, fecal sludge management is also an important issue in Lao PDR. The fecal sludge treatment facilities are available only in Vientiane Capital, but they are not available in other provinces and there is no guideline for management of sludge from the septic tanks and decentralized waste water treatment facilities. The difficulties come from the lack of standard designs, the lack of monitoring and maintenance of septic tanks and decentralized waste water treatment facilities, the lack of capability to enforce regulation, and the financial capacity. In order to overcome these challenges, the WEPA action program will focus on collection of the baseline data of water quality from septic tanks and decentralized waste water treatment facilities, developing training materials for maintenance and operation of septic tanks and decentralized wastewater systems, and strengthening the capacity of relevant agency’s officers for law enforcement.
The WEPA Action Program in Lao PDR is implementing following specific activities:
Identification of legal, institutional, financial, technical issues for improving domestic wastewater management systems in Lao PDR
This activity conducts a baseline study on the current situation and performance of domestic wastewater treatment system in Lao PDR for the purpose of developing relevant regulations and policies. Literature review and survey for legal, institutional, financial and technical issues, information on domestic wastewater, canals, and existing decentralized wastewater treatment facilities are conducted to collect the up-to-dated data. This activity also conducts field survey to obtain information on water quality and pollution of wastewater at household, communities, canals and existing decentralized wastewater treatment facilities and meeting with related authorities in selected provinces.
Monitoring of effluent quality of some decentralized wastewater treatment facilities.
This activity conducts monitoring of effluent discharge from selected septic tanks, decentralized wastewater treatment facilities including Johkasou.
Development of training materials for maintenance and operation of septic tanks and decentralized wastewater treatment facilities, including de-sludging, transportation and disposal of sludge.
This activity provides information obtained from the activities described in the activity i) to the external expert for the development of the training materials and supervise the development of the draft.
Strengthening of the capacity of relevant agency’s officers for regulation enforcement on water environment and private companies.
Annual Consultation Workshops are organized for disseminating the results, sharing information, and outcomes of the WEPA Action Program by inviting ASEAN experts, policymakers and local authorities in Lao PDR, and other WEPA partner countries. Also, seminars and training sessions are organized for the relevant agencies and private companies’ technical officers to strengthen their capacity. The target sectors are natural resources and environment, public work and transport, urban management and service, commerce and industry at central and provincial level.
- Improved pollution control and management of domestic wastewater and contribution to the other project (i.e. Model Project by MOEJ) on decentralized wastewater treatment system through providing scientific basis data on wastewater quality and current performance of decentralized wastewater treatment facilities in Lao PDR.
- Training materials for maintenance and operation of septic tanks and decentralized wastewater treatment facilities, including de-sludging, transportation and disposal of sludge.
- Enhanced technical capacity of relevant stakeholders for a better domestic wastewater management through dissemination and application of the developed technical guideline.